What are Life Lessons? They are not earth shattering. They will not stop world hunger or make your life the best it’s ever been. So “Why bother?” You ask. Why not? Anything that can make your life any easier couldn’t hurt. Try it. You might not get a sense of eureka but what have you got to lose?
So here we go with the most important of life’s lessons.
Pretty basic huh? Kind of a necessity of life, no? This is also the basis for all the other lessons. When in doubt always refer back to this one. Now there are numerous opinions on technique. I will leave that to the experts. The key here is just to breath. Ever been so engrossed in a project or activity that you held your breath from the tension of it all? Have you ever been so angry you felt like you could explode like the Hindenburg? Chances are, in those moments you were not breathing. Not really anyway. You might have been breathing so shallow that you may as well not have been breathing. Or if you’re like me, you might have been holding your breath.
Next time your working on a project or being pushed to meet a deadline but can’t seem to pull things together quick enough. Take note of what your body is doing. I bet your lungs are not living up to their full potential. Your body is starving for some of that great O2. Now don’t run out and buy a tank of O2 and a mask. Try taking a step back from what you are doing, or sit back and take a slow deep breath. Really feel your lungs filling up. Then slowly let it all out. You should feel your muscles relaxing. Now take in and release another breathe then let your breathing return to its natural rhythm. If you feel even the least bit better it’s worth the 30 seconds or so to do it. You just may be surprised at how that great idea or solution reaches the surface. This pretty much works in every situation and if it doesn’t your body won’t hold it against you for supplying it with a little more air.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fun as “something that provides amusement or enjoyment”. Have fun? What do you mean? There are too many other things to get done. Work, husband, kids, pets. Maybe when I’m older, or retired, or when ‘this’ or ‘that happens. Or maybe not. I hate to be a bummer but what if you don’t make it until what if?
The first thing to do is decide what fun means to you. No one can tell you how to have fun. You have to decide for yourself. So grab a piece of paper and your favorite pen. Make a list of things you like to do. Then use your list to schedule a bit of time each day. Yes, schedule. If you don’t schedule it. It won’t be a priority for you. You need to make ‘fun’ a priority. It’s that important. Remember to check it off your list when you’ve completed it.
Scheduling ‘fun’ into your life is a big sanity booster too. Try it, you might like it. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who is already having fun on a daily basis. Bravo! Try to squeeze some more fun in there. Brainstorm with co-workers on how to bring some fun into the workplace. Life’s too short; have all the fun you can get. Warning: don’t use this as an excuse to ignore your responsibilities. Look at it as permission to take a break from some of your responsibilities so you will be fresher to tackle them later.
The new spice of life. Remember that feeling you had when someone did something really nice for you. Chances are that person felt really good too. Secretly do something nice for someone else. A friend, colleague, family member, or someone who doesn’t know you.
You’ll be amazed at the satisfaction you can receive for making someone else’s day. The idea here is that you do not get the reward of them knowing you did it. Don’t expect a thank you or praise in return. This will involve some thought on your part, depending on what you want to accomplish and who the person is. The best way to learn what people want is to listen. We give out a wealth of information about ourselves everyday. Think of what you would like someone to do for you and go from there.
If by chance you are discovered. Simply tell them “it was my pleasure” or “I was happy to do it” and move on.
Enjoy it. Seek out your little space and use it as your own sanctuary. Sit under a tree. Walk through the grass in your bare feet. Sit quietly next to a colorful garden, green space, or by a potted plant if that is all you have to work with. Wherever you can find a little piece of nature to call your own. It is a great reward for you senses and has a wonderful calming affect on the mind.
5. Observe Others
People are not only interesting to watch, you can learn a lot about yourself and others by watching, especially when they are in-groups. Next time you’re out for coffee or at a party find a quiet spot and just watch and listen. You will be amazed with you discover.
There is always something to sort, tidy or straighten. You know what needs to be done. What are you waiting for? You’ll feel ten times better when you are done. At the very least, clean the receipts out of your purse/wallet. Do you really need the receipt for that yogurt you bought a year and a half ago? Imagine the weight to be lifted off your shoulders as you tidy each space.
Too busy? You must have five minutes to spare somewhere. A lot of sorting can be done in five minutes. Try it. Put a timer on and sort the papers on the corner of your desk for five minutes. Larger projects may not be done in five minutes but at least you will crack the surface and it will be less work for the next time.
7. Treat your body, treat your mind
Your body and mind go hand in hand. If one is having a rough day chances are the other one is too. Go for a massage, reflexology, a bath, or wash your hair with a new shampoo, go for a pedicure, whatever. Just make sure it is a treat and not a chore. Your body and mind will love you for it.
8. Open your mind
New ideas are flooding the universe every day. Why not take part in it. Spread some of your ideas around and listen to the ones that come back. You might learn a new perspective or a more productive way of doing something.
Expect any change to be slightly uncomfortable as you move outside your comfort level. Don’t be afraid to cause a ripple or ride the wave. Take that course you have been thinking about or do a little self-study at the bookstore or library. Feed your mind. Avoid getting caught up in the stagnant water of life. Great things can happen when you open your mind to the possibilities surrounding you.
Like you have never had a bad day? Would it really kill you to show some compassion to someone who is having an off day? Not likely. It is important to bear in mind that having a “bad day” is subjective. What you consider a “bad day” may not be what someone else considers to be a “bad day”. Keep in mind it is their bad day.
Don’t try to fix it or try to compete with your own ‘bad day’ scenario. The idea is to be compassionate to someone else’s feelings regardless of how you view their situation. Listen and encourage them to vent. And maybe, just maybe the next time things don’t seem to be going your way; someone will do the same for you. Or they may have read this article and decide to practice #3. This also applied to people you don’t know. The waitress who served you lunch today, the repair guy, the cab driver, anyone you come in contact with is included.
10. Get over it
Leave the past where it belongs, in the past. Learn from your mistakes by trying not to repeat them. Instead of brooding over what might have been enjoy what is yet to come. If it isn’t helping your present situation, get over it.
No, really just smile. Fake it if you have to. Seriously, if you have to, fake it. Eventually you’ll be doing it naturally. Smiling is like yawning. It is contagious. Test it out. Maybe while you are out people watching.
Now you might be wondering why the title says 10 Life Lessons when low and behold there are 11 here. Go back and read # 1, then read #10. If you still can’t figure it out I am sure it’ll come to you.
The life lessons are ideas for you to think about and possibly put into action (# 8). Here is a little chart of the Life Lessons for you to print out and put in your date book or post in your work area or on your fridge. If these don’t make your life a little better than at least the people around you should be a little happier. Have a great life! (#11)